Suzanne LaFetra

New gig writing for the Examiner

Well, I’ve gone and done it– sashayed myself into the world of online journalism, complete with its “pay per click” mentality. But hey, it’s a great excuse to do a couple of the things I love: eat and roam around. I’m the new travel and food writer and will be posting articles about once a week. Please feel free to share, subscribe, digg,  click liberally and all those other webby things I haven’t figured out how to do yet.

Lotsa love,


All I want for Christmas is… a Pushcart Nomination!

A little pre-holiday thank you to Santa for the lovely gift this month: a Pushcart nomination. No one in the non-writing world cares a fig about this, but for we wannabes, a Pushcart nomination is the perfect present. Perhaps someday I’ll get to stand up, a la Sally Fields, tears streaming down my face and shouting, “You like me! You really like me!” into the mic, but for now, I’ll just say, “It’s an honor to be nominated.”  

The Troubles

 ”What’s your most important memory [of Ireland]?” and he said, “How people
who are so nice and lovely individually can be so disagreeable collectively.”
Desmond Fennell, A Connacht Journey

         Tooling through the bucolic countryside of Northern Ireland, it’s tough for an outsider to imagine “The Troubles” that have shaken this part of the Emerald Isle until recently. Copper beech trees splay their dark purple leaves across rolling farmland dotted with black-faced sheep. The peaty, fiddle-filled pubs brim with friendly men in tweed caps and wide-bosomed women serving champ and foamy Guinness. Kind of like the way my marriage was going until recently. (more…)

Anguish makes Art: a little lesson from Frida

My kids and I were standing in front of The Two Fridas at the San Francisco Musuem of Modern Art. I knew that I was mostly going for me, that I wanted to drink in all of Kahlo’s anguished, sensual, visceral paintings. Last time I’d seen her work in person was 19 years ago in Mexico City, when I knew a lot less about anguish and art and love. Back then, to me, Kahlo’s worked seethed with passion, sexuality, fecundity.

Holding hands with my six- and eight-year-old, her work struck a different nerve. We took in the larger-than-life canvas depicting two images of Kahlo, complete with hearts, veins, and bloody wedding dress.

 Why does she look so sad? and Look, you can see inside her heart, my kids said.  I read to them from the program and when I got to the part where Kahlo described The Two Fridas as a response to the heartbreak over her divorce, I had to pause.

“Go on, Mommy,” my daughter said. “Keep going.” But I couldn’t, not for a couple of moments. My own divorce will be finalized this month. Now I understand first-hand how heartache could prompt 49 square feet of canvas devoted to the anguish of change.

I haven’t written much since my marriage fell apart. I let freelance work dribble away, the stream of publications nearly dried up.  A manuscript about my love affair with Mexico has been tucked into a file drawer for nearly two years. But over the past month or so, I’ve felt the little sputter of a spark inside, that tiny flame of creativity re-igniting.

Kahlo suffered immeasurably, and painted her way through a rich but agonizing life. Taking a lesson from her, it seems the least I can do is to use my own small anguish to fuel that precious flame.“Go on… keep going.”

It’s no 7′X7′ masterpiece, but blogs are hanging one’s words out there for the world to see. My small attempt at art, I suppose, heart exposed, wearing my virtual bloodied wedding dress.

I promise– the posts will be cheerier sometimes. Stay tuned.

Brevity:The Journal of Creative Nonfiction

I’m honored to have a piece in the esteemed Brevity. Read Nine Days and you’ll know why I’ve been busy doing things other than writing…


San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Magazine

For Day of the Dead this year, I wrote a short piece for My Word.

Every year my altar is different, and every year I wonder what it will hold in the future. What losses lie ahead?

To read the essay, click here:

A new short story in Pearl

Pearl is one of those old gems of a literary magazine. It’s been around since the mid seventies, and has included writing from bigwigs including Charles Bukowski. I’m honored to have a short story, Catch and Release, included in the current issue.

Catch and Release

She always noticed her father’s hands; the blunt, short nails, the left thumbnail deeply ridged, the pale hairs sprouting from the back, lying down like complacent soldiers. “No, Erica. Not like that.” He had taken the fishing rod from her. “Use a blood knot instead. It’s stronger.”

“You wind it through five times on each side, then poke each end through the hole here.” Her father twisted the filament of fishing line. “They go through opposite sides, Erica, never together. Got it?” (more…)

Reading at the James Edward Olmos Latino Book & Family Festival

I will be reading at the LA County Fairgrounds on Sunday, October 15th from my piece in Chicken Soup for the Latino Soul, along with other contributors to the anthology. The reading will be at 4:00 pm.


Silent Night

DING ding DING ding DING ding. The Salvation Army bell ringer swings his brass bell.
Angela darts past, weaving through the shoppers toward her Chevy Malibu in the parking lot.
Flash of badge.
“You’ll have to show me the receipt for that, ma’am.”
Shit. DING ding DING ding.
Angela crinkles something the pocket of her down jacket. DING ding DING ding. She balls up the Christmas list.

Strange Fruit

Dirty laundry should be washed at home.

Mexican proverb


You have to be careful with laundry in the tropics; you can’t let the tiny rusty spring in the clothespin touch the fabric or your stuff’ll be stained forever. I pin the wet sheet to the line and stand back. Clean. It looks clean.

Up Up and Away

Raging Gracefully: smart women on life, love, and coming into your own

“Lucky earlybirds, you get to see the balloon inflate,” the driver says into the rearview mirror. I’m on vacation with my husband—just the two of us– for the first time in the four years since our kids were born. This weekend, there are no blocks to pick up, no carrots to chop, no garbage to take out.

I just got the advance copy of this new anthology, to be released next month. My story, Up Up and Away is about a balloning adventure and trying to revive a sputtering marriage. You can order a copy at


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